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Entering the German Market
Nearly 100 million people speak German worldwide. It is the official language of Germany and Austria, and it is spoken in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. The sixth most spoken laguage in the world, German speakers are only outnumbered by Russian speakers in terms of total number of speakers in Europe.
The Growing Influence of German
Historically, German has been the language of great scientists and philosophers and artists. Today German is at the forefront of business communication, scientific discovery and research, technological advancement, engineering excellence, and transnational diplomacy.
German Advertising Translation and German Culture
In studies of the use of humor in German advertising, a number of different humorous devices are usually distinguished: puns or word games, understatements, jokes, the ludicrous, the "comic" (as in comic strip), comedy, slapstick, satire, parody, irony, and black humor. In contrast to the stereotype of the German lack of humor, German studies distinguished a similar number of types of humor with only one difference: in English/American studies, "under-statement" is mentioned as a humorous device. This was not specified as a humor-ous device in the two German studies, which mentioned Schadenfreude (malicious pleasure) as a humorous device, one not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon studies.
The fact that in Germany less humor is used in advertising than in England doesn't mean that the Germans have a lesser sense of humor, but it reflects the risk aversion attitude of the German advertising industry as well as the purpose of advertising in Germany that follows the persuasion model.
Translation of movie scripts for German audiences need to keep other cultural differences in mind. Germans, like most Europeans, are more distant with customers than Americans are used to, but can hardly be summed up as unfriendly. The arti-ficial friendliness commonly practiced by shop assistants and restaurant staff in America would be off-putting to Germans.
Germans seem to have more of a need to start from an overall, diffuse, holistic marketing strategy and to try out a number of tactics within this context.
In this way, Mercedes Benz, starting from a superior technical quality perspective, launched a diverse number of cars on the market from the very small and youthful Smart to the extravagantly large 600-series. Success speaks for itself.
Also, in recent years, Porsche launched the Boxster and the Cayenne from a strategic combination of engineering strength and speed with much success. Finally Volkswagen sold all its cars from the concept of high quality compact cars available to the masses.
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